Toughie 2190 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2190

Toughie No 2190 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *****Enjoyment ***

Osmosis gives us a pangram, as usual (with 9a taking care of the first 4 letters). Trademark precise clueing – this is a good toughie for people who enjoy unravelling wordplay. It took me a while.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Dicky records the historic town (10)
DORCHESTER: Anagram (dicky) of RECORDS THE

6a    I agree to entertain playing Frenchman (4)
YVES: I agree, or a 3-letter word for the affirmative, goes around (to entertain) the Latin abbreviation for against, as in playing against

9a    Sort of blood seen around clothes item shortly needing white spirit (7)
BACARDI: The reversal (seen around) of a 2-letter blood type plus a short (informal) word for a jumper with buttons down the front

10a    Shakespearean character, regularly comical, accepting help to diversify (7)
OPHELIA: The even (regular) letters of comical contain (accepting) an anagram (to diversify) of HELP

12a    Worried about keeping golden bit by Bergman, when cutting film (9,4)
EDUCATING RITA: Reversal (about) of a 3-letter verb meaning worried contains (keeping) a gold coin plus the first name of the Swedish film star Bergman, without the last letter (when cutting). Phew.

14a    Relations on our side mean to visit ancient region (6)
WESSEX: Relations of the physical kind come after (on, in an across clue) a preposition meaning our side (e.g. in Bridge, but I think any game or sport) and the middle (mean) letter of visit

15a    Extremely merry jerk outside is telling tales (8)
JOLLIEST: A noun meaning jerk or shock goes around (outside) a verb meaning telling tales or fibs

17a    Rat runs out beyond rubbish pile in end passage (8)
EPILOGUE: A 5-letter word for a rat or rascal without the initial abbreviation for runs (runs out) comes after (beyond) an anagram (rubbish) of PILE

19a    Scan buckle — it half comes off footwear (6)
ANKLET: The second half (half comes off) of the first 3 words in the clue

22a    Year C possibly given detention for discussing how heavy Miss might be (13)
HUNDREDWEIGHT: The number corresponding to the roman numeral C (which could be the name of a year) followed by (given) a homophone (for discussing) of detention or delay

24a    From the inside, a store rejected creativity (2,5)
AB INTRA: A Latin answer I didn’t know: A from the clue, a 3-letter store (e.g. of rubbish, or wine) and the reversal (rejected) of a 3-letter word meaning creativity or practical skill

25a    In retreat, zebra cub mastered imbibing strong drink (7)
SAMBUCA: Reverse hidden (In retreat, … imbibing)

26a    Books about Geordie accent (4)
TONE: A reversal (about) of part of the bible, plus the region of England that Geordie would refer to

27a    Set of steps heard by female entrant filling out technical document (10)
STYLESHEET: A homophone (heard) of a set of steps built into a wall or fence, a female pronoun, and entrant without its central letters (filling out)


1d    Lawyer starts to broach suspect’s fingerprint (4)
DABS: The abbreviation for an American lawyer plus the first letters (starts) of broach suspect’s

2d    Criminal activities that are often slammed in court (7)
RACKETS: These would be squash or tennis courts

3d    Fabled detective frisking hotel croupier (7,6)
HERCULE POIROT: An anagram (frisking) of HOTEL CROUPIER

4d    Wine centres in fashion? Crazy (6)
SHIRAZ: The central letters (centres) in the last two words of the clue

5d    Group of characters online having awkward time getting hold of old fiddle (8)
EMOTICON: An anagram (awkward) of TIME contains the abbreviation for old, plus a word meaning fiddle or cheat

7d    Very posh puppet, primarily seen in series like Basil Brush? (7)
VULPINE: The abbreviations for very and upper-class or posh, then the first letter (primarily) of puppet is inside (seen in) a word meaning series or row

8d    Found in flat, a flier supporting clubs offering underground rock (10)
STALACTITE: A 5-letter word meaning flat or boring contains (found in) A from the clue plus a little bird underneath (supporting) the abbreviation for clubs

11d    Cliff perhaps on London area journal, reviewed sporting event (8,5)
HIGHLAND GAMES: A cliff or any mountainous district plus the reversal of a London postcode area and an informal word for a glossy journal

13d    Lover in mini in The Star in new fashion (10)
SWEETHEART: A Scottish word meaning small or mini goes inside an anagram (in new fashion) of THE STAR

16d    Type of bike shopper needs to obtain new measuring device (8)
QUADRANT: A type of bike with 4 wheels plus a shopper or informer containing (to obtain) the abbreviation for new

18d    One usually outside pub announced fashionable function (3,4)
INN SIGN: A homophone (announced) of both a 2-letter word meaning fashionable and a trigonometric function

20d    Harvest festival item maybe allowed by brothers linked to church (7)
LETTUCE: A 3-letter verb meaning allowed, the abbreviation for trade union (brothers) plus a 2-letter abbreviation for church

21d    Sly person‘s the first to withdraw support for artist (6)
WEASEL: The first (letter) to withraw, plus a support or frame used by a painter

23d    Firm moving rapidly? Don’t scoff (4)
FAST: A triple definition, with the last being relevant to this time of year, i.e. Lent

The clue that got my smile was the Fabled detective (3d), though I also liked the wine (4d) and the spirits (9a, 25a). Which clues did you like?

26 comments on “Toughie 2190

  1. An enjoyable pangram, solved in about 3.5* time – I was held up at the bottom for a short while not least because I thought the enumeration of 27a should be 5,5 not 10

    Our Educated Girl (or is she a nebulous film this time ?) seems to be mentioned a lot lately

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  2. Count me among those who enjoy unravelling wordplay so I enjoyed this one. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.
    I don’t like 22a very much – I can see that C is a hundred but why is ‘year C possibly’ a hundred (other than to support the surface reading)? I suppose that the definition is just suggesting approximately how heavy young girls might be but it seems to be a bit woolly.
    I liked 7d and 16d but my favourite was the 23d triple definition.

    1. Agree. Took me a while to see it as the year, as in the year 2000 would be MM. The answer seems to be about 50kg – not a very direct definition – I thought Miss referred to teacher.

      1. Yes – Miss in the surface refers to a class teacher but as a definition “how heavy a female teacher might be” seems odd so I thought that Miss in the definition might just relate to young girls (but, to be honest, that seems extremely vague as well).

        1. Whether a teacher or a schoolgirl, surely it is against their human rights to be discussing their avoirdupois?

            1. I think this is the imperative to the (year) children “Hundred, wait!” in homophone form. “How heavy Miss might be” is ok as a self-contained def, I feel.

  3. Excellent end to the week, thanks to the setter. Enjoyed 4d so may well do again later!!

  4. Several weeks since I last finished a Friday Toughie by myself, thought I might do it today but needed help from Dutch as 24a was new to me, likewise 16d.
    Very enjoyable all the same and I was pleased to catch on to 14a, which was my favourite!
    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  5. I very much enjoyed this. I needed Dutch (and crypticsue) to point out it was a pangram (one of these days I will recognize one – and (even better) in time to be helpful in solving). I found the the friendly anagrams in 1a and 3d very helpful in getting established. In several instances I got the definition long before I could make sense of the wordplay, and for some I needed Dutch’s review to help me understand what was going on. (I was not familiar with informal jumper with buttons in 9a for instance, and I think I may still be missing something in fully understanding how the ‘heavy Miss’ works in 22a). I appreciated the absence of having to chase down strange obscurities, and I was very pleased to been able to finish without major holdups. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  6. Really enjoyed this one and unusually didn’t need any assistance even though 27A was a new word for me. ***/**** and thanks to Osmosis.

  7. Had time on my hands ,so the toughie it was.
    I did enjoy unravelling the wordplay .
    24a was new to me ,thought it would be ad inter! but eventually got there,27A was the last in and guessed from the clue which was pleasing.
    Favourite was 12a.Thanks Dutch for the blog pics.
    A ***/**** for me.

  8. It was one thing filling the grid, quite another to sort out some of the parsing. Like others, I still don’t quite understand what ‘miss’ is doing in the wordplay for 22a.
    Didn’t know either 24 or 27a and had a real tussle with the former as my online searching came up with ‘ad’ as the first word.

    Think my favourite was the posh puppet in 7d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for a fine blog.

  9. One of those puzzles which I completed before I went out for lunch but really needed Dutch to explain some of the word play. I thought 10a was easy to guess but a nightmare to parse.
    I just have one quibble , would you really expect to see a 20d at a Harvest Festival? I think it would wilt too quickly.
    Anyway, I completed a Friday Toughie!
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

      1. Not keen on that type of ‘makes no sense but it’s in the dictionary’ definition, personally.

    1. I quite agree it should be plural. Was just going to comment myself, but you’ve saved me the trouble! !

  10. Really enjoyed this, VERY pleased to see that Dutch had marked it as 5star post finishing. I feel super as I finished it pretty quickly
    Ta to all, bon weekend

  11. I didn’t find this too tough, but hugely enjoyable. I think we’ve seen 3d before, but it is pretty neat.. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch

    1. I can’t find today’s 3d in any previous Toughies, but on the back page the answer has been anagrammed as THEIR POOR CLUE, THE RIPE COLOUR, OUR HELICOPTER, and HIRE PRO TO CLUE.

      Perhaps you are remembering Indy 1403 (15 Jan 2017), which clued him as “Hotel croupier misdealt to famous Belgian (7,6)”?

Comments are closed.